What is Futures and Foresight?
Futures and Foresight (FF) work have been a mainstay and strategic driver for most large corporates for many years. In recent years, it has begun to play a more important role in the planning and work of large humanitarian and development organisations. A FF approach aims to inject rigour, data, analysis and evidence that can help us predict and understand trends that will impact our work into the future. In other words, FF analysis is a way to help us think about the long term issues and challenges associated with achieving a particular objective, or to understand what a future operating environment may look like, and how we may need to respond.
FF work can focus on long (20 years plus) or on short (within the next 5 years) timelines and is primarily used to influence and inform organisational strategy, policy, prioritisation and focus. FF work typically employs a variety of approaches that range from blended data analysis to visioning activities. When effectively developed they can have profound effects on what we do and how we do it. It can complement conventional forms of analysis and shape short to medium term policy and strategy in a way that is consistent with addressing major long-term challenges.